2 Chinese Nationals Convicted for Multimillion-Dollar Scheme to Dupe Apple Out of 5,000 iPhones

By Jace Dela Cruz

Feb 22, 2024 12:20 AM EST

Two Chinese nationals were convicted by a federal jury in Washington, DC, for their involvement in a fraudulent scheme that would have cost Apple more than $3 million. 

(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CORTE MADERA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 02: The new Apple iPhone 15 is displayed at an Apple Store on November 02, 2023 in Corte Madera, California.

2 Chinese Nationals Convicted of Duping Apple

According to Fox News, the US Department of Justice announced the conviction on Tuesday, saying that Hoatian Sun, 33, also known as Hao Sun, Jack Sun, and Frank Sun, of Baltimore, as well as Pengfei Xue, 33, of Germantown, Maryland, were found guilty of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Court documents show that the scheme unfolded between May 2017 and September 2019. Sun, Xue, and other co-conspirators spent more than two years submitting over 5,000 fake iPhones to Apple for repair, hoping that the tech giant would exchange the counterfeit items with genuine ones.

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Fake iPhones of Apple

The operation reportedly involved the shipment of fake iPhones from Hong Kong to UPS mailboxes across the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, managed by Sun.

These counterfeit devices, with spoofed serial and IMEI numbers, were then submitted to Apple Authorized Service Providers and retail stores. According to the DOJ, Sun opened eight UPS Store mailboxes in 2017 using his Maryland driver's license and university identification card.

The US postal inspectors arrested the two Chinese nationals in December 2019. Apple has yet to comment on the matter. The sentencing of Sun and Xue is scheduled for June 21, and they both face up to 20 years in prison.

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